Friday, April 19

Buffalo shooting underscores need to fight racism in Erie and U.S.

Buffalo is known as the City of Good Neighbors — nice people, nice place to live. Indeed, here in the other Erie County, we know that’s true because we are all connected in one way or another to our good neighbors 90 miles up the lakeshore. And, when news of a racially motivated massacre at a Tops market in a Black neighborhood reached our collective newsfeeds this past week, a wave of shock and sadness rippled across our community.

Buffalo Bills running back Taiwan Jones and Quarterback Josh Allen pray with their teammates near the site of the last Saturday's mass shooting at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. May 18, 2022. Members or the team visited the site and then helped distribute food to members of the community.

Sadly, this shooting was the latest in a growing number of hate crimes against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) — mainly Black — in America. The slaughter was startling and part of a growing trend. The New York Times reported this week that in 2020, an FBI report showed the highest spike in hate crimes in a dozen years. Further, hate crimes against Black Americans increased nearly 46% from 2019 to 2020. Take a moment to take that in — it’s a dramatic increase in just one year and those are only the hate crimes reported to law enforcement.

Gary Lee

The motivation for these crimes is an insatiable disdain for people of color — racism boiled over into unspeakable violence. It’s not new, but the resurgence of violence against Black and brown Americans is rising at an alarming rate.

More:At least 10 dead, 3 hurt in Buffalo supermarket shooting; Gov. Kathy Hochul blames ‘white supremacist’

We at Diverse Erie are working to combat racism and invest in initiatives and ideas that advance equity and inclusion across Erie County. Equity is required to level the playing field, so we all have a chance to succeed at the same level. Advancing equity is necessary because of our nation’s past, which includes the shameful stain of slavery and segregation that caused a racist paradigm which has been difficult to break.

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